TEA AND SYMPATHY
NotNiceEtoile meets New Friend for coffee on a day when the British Summer has seemingly come to an end. Meaning the rain has finally stopped, leaving the sun to come out. New Friend suggests to NotNiceEtoile they purchase take-away drinks from one of those depressing brown coffee establishments now situated on every high street throughout the land to punctuate the eternal lines of charity shops (probably best not to embarrass them on this blog, might costa them a bit of trade – doh!) and sit by the river. NotNiceEtoile acquiesces.
New Friend and NotNiceEtoile queue at the counter. Barista solicits New Friend as to her beverage requirements. New Friend asks for a medium iced decaf skinny mint latte mochachino macchiato frappuccino with an inside leg measurement of 33″. Barista nods, whilst not batting an eyelid. (Thought men couldn’t multi-task?) Turns his attention to NotNiceEtoile, who is endeavouring to recover from an acute attack of adjective poisoning. NotNiceEtoile desires an iced tea. Says “I’ll have an iced tea, please”. Barista enquires, Which flavour?
NotNiceEtoile politely asks him what he’s on about.
We have peach, strawberry or cucumber.
NotNiceEtoile smiles, says “Ah, no, I want an iced tea”.
Those are our iced teas. Peach, strawberry or cucumber?
“I’d like tea flavour tea, please”.
Barista stumped. I’m afraid we don’t do that one.
Man with full beard awaiting his large caramel espresso chai creme mocha cookie crumble ristretto granita lattecino con panna with a double topping of tandoori chicken (I’ll swear he didn’t have facial hair when he entered the place) looks over and comments that it’s like an episode of Tony Hancock. NotNiceEtoile says it’s all her fault, she’s a comedy writer. She’s just grateful she doesn’t write tragedy.
NotNiceEtoile sighs out loud. Asks if they have lemons (see assorted previous headbanging beverages posts). To her surprise, the answer is yes! Says she’ll have an Earl Grey Tea with lemon.
We don’t do that one, Mastermind retorts. (He has, after all, torted this before. See above). We have peach, strawberry or cucumber.
NotNiceEtoile patiently explains we’re forgetting about the ice thing now, lose the cubes, oublier les glacons, she wants a HOT Earl Grey Tea with a slice or two of lemon.
That’s £46.93 please.
Cardboard vessel is presented for inspection to NotNiceEtoile, who has asked for the tea bag to be removed fairly early on in the brewing process. Is that OK? NotNiceEtoile peers into the long cylinder of sepia liquid. “Where’s the lemon?” she sobs. It’s there, at the bottom. NotNiceEtoile takes another peek. Sure enough there’s a sliver of something so thin, it’s almost invisible to the naked eye, lying dormant at the bottom of the cup. It’s nowhere near where it should be, on top of the steaming refreshment doing the crawl, or perhaps backstroke; this slice has, like the most famous parrot in the whole of history, fallen off its perch. It is a dead lemon.
NotNiceEtoile is reminded of the episode in Jerome K Jerome’s satirical masterpiece, Three Men In A Boat, which relates the antics of three male friends enjoying a boating trip on the Thames – by chance starting out from the very town in which NotNiceEtoile is suffering this horrible trauma! – in which Harris attempts to sing a comic song. The pianist delivers a rousing introduction to the Judge’s song in Trial By Jury, before Harris enters – at the wrong moment – with the Admiral’s song from HMS Pinafore. Eventually, after singer and pianist manage to converge on song choice, Harris starts off six octaves too low, before realizing and suddenly switching to a high falsetto.
“Nervous old lady near the fire begins to cry, and has to be led out”.
NotNiceEtoile and New Friend make for the door. Behind them comes a voice:
Do you want milk with that?